A booze-free bar might sound like a contradiction, but there's a growing audience for late-night hangout spots that don't revolve around alcohol.
Whether in substance recovery, not drinking because of a health condition or taking a break for "Dry January," a growing number of Americans are "sober curious," a movement that's spreading through social media. New research that shows that even a month-long break from booze has considerable health benefits, including weight loss and better sleep.
Jesska Hughes and Michelle Hill are capitalizing on this momentum with their new "dry bar," Bizzy's, which opens on Jan. 18 and will operate at night, 6pm–midnight, Thursday through Monday, out of the popular Oakland coffee shop Black Spring Coffee, which will keep its regular 7am–4pm hours during the day.
Hughes, Hill and Black Spring owner Ryan Stark all met in the Bay Area's punk and DIY scene; Stark was never a drinker, and Hughes and Hill turned away from booze as they got older and decided to reevaluate their relationship to alcohol. While nightlife is an important realm for artists, musicians and other creative people to connect, the trio says those bonds can be fostered without alcohol.
"I feel like every time I go to a show, there's one more person who's like, 'I stopped drinking,'" says Hill. "The ranks are continuing to increase. And that's for all varieties of reasons: some people are in recovery, some aren't."